|If it's in English, Spanish, and French,|
I have actually had the good fortune to attend the same training in Florida two summers in a row: Last year to learn what to teach in the first place, and this year because they changed the English curriculum for the incoming Juniors. But this post isn't about IB and it's accoutrements; it's about being paid to go on vacation and what it's like to spend a per diem. A perk that, as a teacher, I never expected.
|The view from my balcony. Pretty.|
|Imagine a fogged-up bathroom after a hot shower.|
That's what the outdoors feels like ALL THE TIME.
I was sent with a group of four others from my school to St. Pete's Beach, and stayed at the TradeWinds Resort, a place where you walk out of the hotel and onto the beach. As part of the conference, a breakfast and lunch buffet is provided in an air conditioned pavilion. That was decent grub, but when breakfast and lunch is already provided and you get a thirty-five dollar per diem, you can have a somewhat extravagant meal for dinner.
|An unnatural, yet scenic, pond in the middle of the TradeWinds resort.|
On the first night, we arrived late in the evening and checked into the hotel. No one wanted to go anywhere, except to remain indoors with air conditioning, a common theme throughout the week. So we went to the Palm Court Italian Grill conveniently located inside the resort. I'm not a seafood eater, which is 75% of their Italian-food menu. (You can check it out yourself if you want; my math's certainly off). They do offer Braised Florida Boar, which I might have tried if not for the mushrooms included with it. Since most of their dishes involve seafood or mushrooms or both, I got the New York Strip. Honestly, I don't often go out for steak. It's expensive, and I'd rather just grill it myself. But when I have a per diem, I'm going to get a nicely prepared slab of beef. This one was good, but it wasn't as great as the next night.
|We ate him up in tiny bites.|
The third night, we got in the rental and drove to the point south of the resort in a little area called Pass-a-Grille Beach, which I thought would be busy and crowded, but instead was lazy and peaceful. Mostly filled with houses, condos, and hotels, this little plot of land at the entrance to the Tampa Bay had a block or two of restaurants and cafes. We stopped at one place called Hurricanes because we liked the look of the large, old building with a great second story view, but it turned out to be a one-floor dive bar without air-conditioning. They seated us, and we almost stayed just to be polite, but we didn't. Before they could ask us what we'd like to drink, we bolted.
Here, push play, and you can sing along as I finish my story:
So this place didn't have a thirty dollar steak, but they had the crab cakes and fresh fish you might want. Me, I went for the BBQ bacon burger and the plate of fries loaded with bacon and cheese. This was the cheapest meal I ate all week, barely spending half of my per diem amount, but it was great. I can put down a solid burger before steak any day.
In conclusion, it's fun eat a thirty-five dollar meal every once in a while. Especially when it's not your money.